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Volunteer Outreach; Serving the poor a ray of hope

Updated on April 10, 2014

The King's Fishers Ministry

"When I was hungry you fed me... when I was naked you gave me clothing", this passage from Matthew 25;35 -40 is at the core of The King's Fishers Ministry "mission in the park". Richard Burroughs was first led on his mission in Summer 2012.

"In June of 2012, our oldest son Joshua began attending school at ITT San Bernardino. During his first quarter, he had a class in the morning and then another in the afternoon. Rather than making two trips, we decided to stay in San Bernardino for the day. After the first week, we decided to take lunch with us. So while Joshua was in class, I decided to find a park where we could go for a picnic in between his classes. I came across Meadowbrook park, and we had a small picnic there that day. While at the park, I met a homeless man and invited him to have lunch with us. That day we were able to share our food with four homeless men. Driving home to Hemet that day, I felt like the Lord began asking me if I would do this every week. Knowing the financial struggles that my family was going through, I argued with God, saying how would we be able to do that. Then it was as though the Lord told me, “I did not ask you how you would do it, I asked if you were willing to do it.” So I said yes Lord, I am willing, and since then, He has provided the means each and every week. Since then, my wife and I go out every Saturday with our three children and share a sack lunch and drink, and the Word of God with the people in the park. During the past 15 months, we have built relationships with several of the people in the park, whom we now call our friends."

Richard Burroughs

President of The King's Fishers Ministry

Campaign Against Hunger

A Campaign to End Hunger

In America there are 566,000 restaurants. If each one only wasted one pound of food a day this would amount to 283 tons in just one day. This would be enough food to feed 1.5 million hungry children. Restaurants must do more to eliminate food waste. If allowed to continue wasting this vast amount of food, In a years time American restaurants will have wasted enough food to have fed the entire United States at least once.

  • in 2012 15 % of Americans were living in poverty
  • In 2012 6 million people accessed emergency food from food pantries and soup kitchens
  • In 2011 4,8 million seniors did not have enough food to eat

Statistics provided by


Issues affecting the homeless

What are some of the issues affecting homelessness? Some of the things affecting the homeless are the same things you and I take for granted.

  • A place to shower
  • Clean and dry clothes
  • Shaving supplies
  • Enough food
  • access to health and dental care
  • Security
  • Job training skills
  • A warm bed
  • Safe drinking water

Homeless by city

Although the overall homeless population has decreased by 129,000 since 2005, there are still over 633,000 homeless living in the United States.

  • New York has 51,000 homeless living in shelters with an additional 3,100 living on the street
  • Los Angeles, only 4% of homeless, estimated at between 42,000 and 51,000, live in shelters. Yet the county has rarely invoked a California statute that would allow public facilities to shelter the homeless.
  • San Diego, with 10,000 homeless, is the third largest homeless population in the U.S.

Sources The Voice of San Diego, The Huffington Post, Coalition for the Homeless,

Laws Protecting the Homeless

Rhode Island was the first state in the union to pass a Homeless Bill of Rights. In 2012 Rhode Island Representatives Christopher Blazejewski and Edith H Ajello sponsored the bill. The bill is a historic landmark in homeless rights. Government, police, healthcare workers, landlords, can no longer treat the homeless unfair because of their situation.

"Today, in Rhode Island, hatred, bigotry, and discrimination is not accepted," said John Joyce, cofounder of The Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project.

Source Huffington Post and Rhode Island Assembly

Illinois, August 22, 2013 Governor Pete Quinn signed a Homeless Bill of Rights, becoming the second state to enact such laws protecting the homeless.

Source Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

California, Another land mark case is the Homeless bill of rights, a California Statute introduced by Assembly Member Ammiano in 2013. Among other rights, the bill allows homeless to move freely, to accept and share food, and to ask for donations.

Source California State Legislature

Connecticut, On July 11th 2013 Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed SB 896, an act concerning a Homeless persons Bill of Rights. Source Connecticut Assembly

For the Federal Definition of Homeless see (42§ USC 11302)

Should it be against the law to feed the homeless.

See results

Laws Against the Homeless

Tampa has passed an ordinance allowing police to arrest someone for sleeping or storing stuff in a public place.

Thirteen people were arrested in Orlando FL after intending to feed the homeless.

Columbia, SC should say " If you're homeless, you can't live here." In their Emergency Homeless Response, Columbia has unfairly targeted the homeless. One of the proposed plans is to have police shuttle Homeless to a shelter outside of downtown. Homeless people would only be able to leave by shuttle, away from downtown.

St. Petersburg FL Items stored on public property may be issued a warning to remove property within 36 hours.

Tax Credits for Hiring Homeless

Utah 2013, The senate passes HB 274, a bill designed to give tax credit to companies who hire homeless workers for at least 20 hours per week for at least 6 months. Companies who hire homeless for 20 hours for 6 months will receive a $500 tax credit, $1000 for full time workers, and $2000 for full time workers who work one year.

Source The Salt lake Tribune

Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax credit available to employers who hire from certain target groups.

Source U.S. Department of Labor


Putting a Face on the Homeless

Every city has its own share of poor, we see homeless sleeping in doorways and we look away. These photos shared by Richard and Tracy Burroughs show a different side, it looks like a family enjoying a picnic in the park. Can you tell who is homeless in the picture above? I can't, Richard Burroughs is my brother, he is the man holding the Bible, yet I had to look for him in the background. If I can not recognize my own brother, whom I've known his entire life, then maybe homeless people are just like you and I.

Companies that Hire Homeless

Greystone Bakery, a Supplier of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, hires low-income and formerly homeless workers. They are also a new type of corporation called a B corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

The Empowerment Plan hires homeless women living in Detroit Shelters so that they can earn money and find a place to live. The women make a coat that turns into a sleeping bag, the coat is then given to people living on the street.

Christmas Outreach

Additional resources

U.S. Government
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
I Do Foundation
Charitable Organization
U.S. Government
Department of Health and Human Sevices
National Law Center On Homelessness & Poverty
The Empowerment Plan!home/mainPage
Federal Tax Credits
U.S. Department of Labor
Volunteer Ministry
The King's Fishers

What Can You Do To Help

  • Donate Food and Clothing
  • Organize Charitable Bake Sales
  • Give to Local Food Banks
  • Donate to Local Shelters
  • Volunteer

Poverty Kills

My friend Au Fait wrote a wonderful article on poverty, you can read it here.

© Robert Burroughs 2013

More thoughts on the Homeless

I have written a few smaller pieces on Bubblews, mostly just my thoughts on the homeless situation.


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    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 3 years ago

      Hey I just noticed that you live in Arkansas, my grandpa was from a town near Little Rock, called Mark Tree.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 3 years ago

      I always love hearing from you Victoria, of course the part about my not recognizing my own brother might be funny.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great hub! It's neat what you and your family do. It's unread to me that feeding the homeless can be against the law! Voted up and everything except funny. Great job.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 3 years ago

      Thank all of you for your comments. I put a great deal of effort into writing this. It is the second article I have written on people in need. my first article "Campaign against hunger" brings to light the over 6 million people living in this country who do not have enough food.

    • profile image

      Thekingsfishers 3 years ago

      Great info in the article. I learned a lot, thanks. I hope people will recognize the need that is right here in America. We are a non-profit organization The King's Fishers Ministries that is ready and willing to help bring a ray of hope but we need more support in order for us to do that. Thanks again, Robert.

    • profile image

      Mary Anderton 3 years ago

      Very well written. It really describes the hardships the homeless go through.

    • profile image

      Andrea 3 years ago

      Good article Robert...thanks for bringing light to an important issue.

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 3 years ago

      Thank you again Bill, I put a lot of effort into this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bravo my friend. I have been writing about this for over a year now. It is a national shame that we have this many homeless....more needs to be done....and our job, as writers, is to raise awareness. Well done!